The Alaska Department of Public Safety has released a draft copy of its body worn camera policy for public feedback.
The new policy will govern the use of body cameras, personal audio recorders, and dash cameras.
Money for the proposed policy comes via $3.58 million in state and $938,000 in federal funding.
The DPS draft policy is based off of national best practices from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, US Department of Justice, and other similarly situated law enforcement agencies across the nation.
A copy of the draft policy, frequently asked questions, and photos can be found at: https://dps.alaska.gov/bodycam
Highlights include the following:
DPS may proactively release recordings after officer-involved-shootings and other critical incidents once the primary interviews are completed with suspects, witnesses, and victims.
DPS will retain evidence that is captured for between 26 months and or 99 years depending on the nature of the interaction that is recorded.
Members of the public will be able to request copies of recordings after an investigation is completed and any related court proceedings involving the state have been closed under the Alaska Public Records Act.
“The Alaska Department of Public Safety has been working for years to bring body worn cameras to our department and the citizens that we protect,” said Alaska’s Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell. “Not only do body worn cameras increase transparency and trust, but they help better serve the Alaskans that we interact with every day, and provide undeniable video evidence for prosecutions and investigations.”
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Cockrell added that he hopes “Alaskans will take a look at our draft policy and give us candid feedback and ways that can make body cameras better for all Alaskans.”
The state has chosen Motorola as the vendor for the body camera project, the same company that provides vehicle dash cameras and radios for the Department of Public Safety.
In total, DPS has purchased 600 Motorola V300 body cameras for the use of Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, commissioned officers in the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Court Services Officers, and Village Public Safety Officers.
DPS will begin a pilot program in Spring 2023 which will deploy approximately 30 cameras to Troopers that service urban and rural Alaska and are currently equipped with a wireless dash camera in their patrol vehicle. DPS intends to begin issuing body cameras to all Troopers, CSOs, DFMs, and VPSOs later in 2023.
The official public comment period will run from February 8, 2023 – March 1, 2023. Alaskans or organizations that would like to comment on the policy should do so in writing by emailing email@example.com or mailing their comments to:
Alaska Department of Public Safety
ATTN: BWC Comments
5700 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99507